Gathering 2007
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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I think this is the first of many GL reports on this year's event. I'll try to update the list as the event goes on.
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51. Board Game: Die Säulen von Venedig [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1789]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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TerryM and RobinM were looking to get a game of this together and found LarryW and me free. They went through the rules and we played a quick game.

The board shows a grid of squares with the Canal Grande running through it. Place the Gondola on the canal (anywhere; move if needed; may leave next to board if you want). Players get 8 control markers in their color, and 2 city tiles (2 stones/2VP and 4 stones/7VP). Shuffle/deal all cards out (remove some from game with fewer players). Each round:
1. players simultaneously select/reveal a card
2. in turn order, take the appropriate action. Possible actions:
- build pillars (# shown on card; must be in a contiguous group starting adjacent to another pillar or the canal; put control markers on # shown on card)
- get contracts for tiles (take city tiles from supply, up to # shown on card)
- build city tiles on pillars (no overhangs except over canal with bridge tile; no diagonal builds; earn VP shown, + 1VP for each adjacent matching edge; each OTHER player's control marker is returned, and earns them 3VP)
- take control of gondola (put your marker on gondola; whenever ANY player builds tile adjacent to canal, gondola-controller gets 2VP)
- sabotage: remove 1 city tile from board; place on bottom of tile stack
- lawyer: build 2-stone tile; other player's control tokens do not earn VP
- spy: select a card from another player and play it now; give that player your spy
- beggar: copy another card played this round (not spy)
- inventor/speculator/dealer: get 6VP if pillar/builder/city tile cards are played this round
3. Pass the card played to the left
4. If any of the cards were marked, also pass Start Player card to the left

The game ends immediately when the last pillar is PLACED on the board. Winner = most VP.

This is a fun game! Despite having 2 newbies, it plays quickly (45min). There is some randomness in the cards you're dealt, but played cards are passed every turn so you'll eventually (usually) see what you need. On the other hand, there's some potential to hoard cards, so you can try to control the choices of the player to your left. If you can predict what others will do, though, you can still benefit from the 6VP cards. (You should probably try to keep track of which player has each of these 3 cards.)

Our game was very close. All of us correctly predicted the last round: Terry was in the lead and could end it by building pillars. Larry played one of the 6VP cards and Robin had obliged by playing the matching card, so he took the lead. I, however, was start player (then Larry, then Terry; no chance for Robin to take her last action). Unfortunately, I didn't have any tiles to get VP! So I played the spy, hoping to steal one of the 6VP cards. I knew either Robin or Terry had it, but I couldn't remember which one! So I asked "which card do I need to get 6VP based on the pillars guy?" Terry answered "this one", and showed me the card in his hand! That gave me 6 points, and the win ! Now it's possible I would have chosen Terry anyway, but I'm really not sure ... kind of a cheap win but it was very entertaining!

7+/10
 
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52. Board Game: Australian Railways [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4782]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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LarryW and I were trying to get another game of AoS together, that he could actually finish this time! Terry was interested, but I'd just taught him and a few others Notre Dame - they were still in the middle of that game. DanB was looking for people to play this, which he prefers over AoS, so we joined him and LarryL.

The production quality is not so good, but the game play is interesting. It's a predecessor to AoS, edit:the latest in the Early Railway series, and an ancestor of Volldampf and Age of Steam


The board shows part of SE Australia, with several cities connected by defined routes. Each city (except junction cities) produces some color(s) of goods, and demands some color(s). These connections are auctioned off in semi-random order: random, except you discard routes that don't start at Melbourne or Sydney or that don't connect to previously built routes ... so the network gradually builds over the course of the game. The game ends when all routes are built. Money management is similar to AoS -- you take out loans, pay interest -- but money isn't nearly as tight and you DO eventually pay the loans off completely. Productions is different, too: in turn, each player draws a colored chit and places it in any city that is able to produce that good. Goods delivery is slightly different: you deliver 1 good if you built a track, or 2 goods if you didn't. Also, there's a bit of randomness in building: must roll 2d6 to see if your track is available for use right away, or if you must wait till next turn (you can spend cash to make it available immediately). Income reduction is also random: divide your income by (2d6+1) -- reduce income by the remainder. Victory conditions are also different: it's cash on hand + track value - outstanding debt.

LarryW and I fell behind early on, with LarryL and Dan using each other's tracks. LW and I shared a short segment, but then I branched off northwards, hoping to eventually connect with Sydney. I got a few tracks cheaply, while LL spent a few turns making 2 deliveries and driving his income upwards. He was hurt twice by income reduction, but kept the lead in income throughout the game. By the end, LW had finally increased his income so we were all relatively close. LW had too much debt, though. LL and I ended up tied - cheers for all!

7/10
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53. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:153]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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A bunch of people went to BD Mongolian Grill for dinner: the food could be really good, if you know how to mix sauces, spices, etc. I don't -- it was tolerable, even pretty good ... but I'd much rather order something off the menu!

Afterwards, 'twas time for the BattleLore tournament. I think I've played the game just once (or twice?) before. I played against DanL. It was a close match, which I ended up winning 6-5. It's a fun game, especially with the lore and War Council (which Dan seemed to use very well ... those wiley rogues!). Thanks for the game, Dan!

(the tourney was 2 steps; advance to the next based on medal tally and units lost -- although most of us were close, some were not, so no chance for me )

7+/10
 
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54. Board Game: Gemblo [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1085]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Waiting for the next game, I joined the Benders, DavidF, LarryW and TerryB for a quick game of this (Blokus with hex-based tiles). It was new to Larry and Terry. Fortunately, everyone played quickly - no one took too long thinking about moves (except me?). Rhonda and I ended up tied, but I won the tie-breaker ... so HA!

Just kidding - everyone was a little punchy and it was a very fun table to play!

6+/10 (play fast!)
 
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55. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:371]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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This was the big group Wits & Wagers: there must have been around 100 people playing, in teams of 4-6. It's basically the same game, modified: teams get 3 questions with several answers; get 1 pt for each correct answer (game or Gathering related questions, usually). Then, use those points to bet W&W style. About 4 rounds of this for the entire game.

It was a lot of fun! Surprisingly, we came in 6th or 7th!

Really worked well with the large group! 7/10
 
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56. Board Game: The Flea Market Game [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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April 7 ... Day #9

The annual flea market!! We brought only a few things, mostly junk. And most of it sold - yay! One person's trash is another's gem, I suppose (although "gem" is WAY to strong a word). We also picked up a few things, including Richelieu (which I'd been looking for for a while) and Fishermen of Catan (to add to our collection of Catan games that will sit on the shelf collecting dust!).
 
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57. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:413]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Next up, the Liar's Dice tournament. There were 50+ people playing? We split up into several groups, where the first 2 winners would advance to the next round (first round winner stepped out). I came in 2nd both games! But at least I lost to last year's overall 2nd placer (or winner?).
 
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58. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:147]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Just killing a little time before heading out for lunch, I found Ava; she taught me this and we played a quick game.

It's an abstract using hexes labeled with various bugs. On your turn, you either add a piece to the play area (must be adjacent to one of your pieces but not touching opponent) or move a piece. The goal is to completely surround your opponent's queen. Each piece moves in different ways (grasshoppers jump in a line, ants crawl along edges any distance, spiders crawl along edges up to 3 spaces, beetle moves to 1 adjacent space and can climb on top of other pieces, queen moves 1 space).

Ava schooled me pretty quickly, pinning my queen before I could do much to hers. The wooden hex blocks feel good, and the game is fun (especially for an abstract!).

7/10
 
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59. Board Game: Arkadia [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:480]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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After lunch, I got a group of 4 (all newbies) who wanted to play this game. Fortunately, MattG of BGG was kind enough to teach us the rules -- he'd just finished a game a few tables down.

It's an area influence tile laying game. There's a deck of cards showing each of the building tiles in the game, with a colored seal. On your turn, you either play workers (start with 3 in stock, hidden) or play a card (4 in hand; draw replacement). When you play a card, you place the corresponding building on the board, with a seal of the color shown. (If you cover certain spots on the board, you get neutral colored workers.) In either case, if you completely surround a building (= occupy all orthogonally adjacent spaces), you take the seal on it; all workers in orthogonally adjacent spaces also give their owner a seal of that color. In addition, you get to play Torres-style blocks, with colored seals on the top, into the castle structure in the middle of the board (must complete level 1, then level 2). Then, at the end of your turn, you may turn in a scoring banner (you have 4): this allows you to gain 2 more workers, and also exchange as many seals as you like for gold (VP) = #seals x value of seals. Seals are valued by the number of seals visible in the castle when looking from above. The last round is triggered when someone finishes the 2nd level: everyone, including that player, gets one final turn. Then, a final scoring occurs.

The game was fun, but it's not something I'd necessarily have to purchase. The endgame seemed to come very suddenly, with none of us really prepared (all had 1 unused banner). There also seemed to be a waiting game going on, with everyone trying to avoid setting up the next player(s) for a big scoring opportunity. It was a good game, but I found some of the others to be more interesting.

6/10
 
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60. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:499]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Just killing time before the next big event, the Prize Table.

Qwirkle is basically Scrabble with shapes and colors. The 'word' you create must be composed of tiles sharing either the same shape or color (but not both). Score 1 point per 'word' formed by your play. There are 6 shapes in 6 colors. Score 6VP bonus if you create a 6-length word. Game ends when any player uses his last tile.

It's a fun game, I suppose. I never seemed to draw what I wanted -- probably an issue of not setting myself up as I should have. Gail won, followed closely by Ken and Kevin; I was a distant fourth.

6/10
 
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61. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1555]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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I tried 2 'prototypes' from KC (Sunriver). Again, he has an "open" view of prototypes and doesn't mind internet posts. I actually played 2 games: the first was a pizza-themed tile laying game; the second was a trick-taking card game. The pizza game was pretty good - could be better with a few tweaks, but even as it is now I think it's a fun family game. The trick-taking game takes a bit of getting used to, but that's fun as well.
 
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62. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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First, it was Prize Table time! The tournament winners pick first, then everyone else randomly. After going through once, the winners go again, then everyone else (in reverse order from previously). I picked up End of the Triumverate and Laguna; Mary got Pillars of the Earth and some little card games (not much available any more). I was this || close to picking up Glory to Rome, but they were all gone by the time I got called again!

Afterwards, I played in the PR tourney. It was small: 4 5er games, with winners advancing to the final round. I won my first game, lost the second: I got very foolish, for some reason thinking I could make a university work for me. Yes, a university! It works OK in 3er games, and I was (foolishly) curious how it would work in a 4er! My best chance at an early pick next year, GONE! Darn those shippers!

7/10
 
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63. Board Game: Bongo! [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:3387]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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We should have gone to bed after this (ended around midnight) but M was playing Tichu so I watched the last few hands. I played a quick game of Bongo while waiting for Mary to say her goodnights:

A speed pattern-recognition game. Several (5?) dice have pictures of animals on them (gnu, rhino and bongo). Also roll 2 yellow dice with pictures representing 1, 2, or 3. If the yellow dice match, look for the symbol that occurs that many times. If not, look for the symbol that occurs the OTHER number of times. If nothing satisfies these conditions, call "none". If the first player is correct, they get a chip of that type (for "none" calls, take one of your choice). If incorrect, give another player one of that animal's chip (or if "none" was mistake, give ALL your chips to other players). The first to collect 2 of each animal, or 6 of one animal, wins the game!

The advanced game adds 2 red dice and 1 green. The 2 red are hunters: if they're the same, they eliminate a matching animal from the white dice; if they're different, they eliminate one of the OTHER animals (I think). The green die saves one of those animals from the hunter. Then, evaluate the yellow dice as normal.

This is a fun little game, although even the basic game is tough; I think the full game would be VERY tough for most people! Probably not much fun if someone isn't quick with their visual pattern recognition.

I won! Good thing we didn't play the advanced version, though - that looks to be too difficult.

We should have gone to sleep, but then the Germans wanted to say goodbye: they'd brought some single malt whisky (Glen something) so, of course, I couldn't offend by saying 'no'! We ended up sitting around talking till 4-freaking-30-am! I'm too old for this ! Next year, I'm going to have to bring a bottle myself!

6/10
 
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64. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:91]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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April 8 ... Day #10!

We woke up late, of course, and started the day off with our last visit of the trip to the Mexican place across the street! The hotel was having an Easter buffet which looked and smelled great, but none of us (me, Mary, Ava, Ward) wanted too big a breakfast/lunch. It was actually quite good! After lunch, I found a copy of this on the table -- where it had been left for at least a day! Convinced Ken and Gail, KenD and Ian to try this out (Ken and Gail had played once before, a while ago). As I said previously, it's a difficult game to understand at first: just over an hour (rules and game) later, we were still getting questions about the details of card flow from our newbies. We had to end it early -- several of us were in the next tourney....
 
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65. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:485]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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There were many many people involved in this. We split into groups of 4, with the winners advancing to the next round. I'm not sure what happened after that -- I was knocked out in round 1 ! And it was a pretty convincing defeat, too: I had only 1 piece on the board, and it was only midway up!
 
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66. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:24]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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EricB, who taught me the game at the end of the Gathering last year, found me again! We played much faster, but speed didn't help me -- I lost 34-23 in about 13 minutes! If I'd made the right play (partly from a rules misunderstanding), I could have lost by a smaller margin, 34-29!goo

Still a fun game that we'll have to get when it's released!
 
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67. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1555]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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TedA had just finished playing a round or 2, and several people were leaving. I and a few others took their chairs. It's a party game where you ahem ahem ahem and ahem ahem ahem. It works pretty well, although I think it would be better with 5 (only because each round would be faster). Also, the point scoring system might reward luck a bit too much, and could be toned down a bit. Make sense?

6/10
 
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68. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:65]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Mary had been playing Tichu with Ron, Markus, and Scott while I was playing the stuff above. Scott had to leave, and I'd been wanting to play again so I talked them into playing another game! Mary and I did pretty well, making a tichu (I should have called a grand!) and some 1-2-outs, but we had to end the game a bit early: it was time for...
 
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69. Board Game: The Original Food Lover's Trivia [Average Rating:4.92 Unranked]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Actually, not this game, but the game of GLUTTONY! We'd missed it last year and heard that it was a lot of fun. We also wanted to squeeze as much gaming out of the event as possible: we're not leaving till tomorrow. So we got to go out with the group (about 90 total) for dinner at Hunan House. Wow, it was really good! They get dinged for having Pepsi, but that's about it: my chocolate martini (vanilla vodka, Bailey's Irish Creme, Godiva chocolate liquer) was very good, and the food was both good and plentiful. Every time you thought they were done, they'd bring out another dish! The Pad Thai and General Chicken were especially good!

Thanks, Alan!

9/10 - you can't stuff yourself ALL the time!
 
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70. Board Game: Botts and Balls [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:6552]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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After dinner we headed back to the hotel for some last night gaming. The party games had come out yesterday, and I was about ready to do some more of that kind of light gaming. But AnnL pulled this out and it looked cool (handmade, with foamcore boards and very cute bake-it-yourself clay pieces) so we gave it a try.

Each player has a home goal in the middle of one of the 6 sides of the hexagonal board. The board is divided into triangles that form lanes. To setup, you just place 3 pieces (obstacles) randomly. In turn order, you get to move your robot (starts in your own goal) using 6 movement points. Movement is tricky: it's like Ricochet Robot, except that when you hit an object (wall, robot, ball) you may bounce off in any direction -- the triangular grid takes some getting used to! The object is to hit balls (placed in center of board at first, then placed in random locations adjacent to the obstacles) into a goal: 1VP bonus for getting into your own goal. The initial balls are worth 1VP, but later ones are worth 2, then 3VP. There is also a cooperative element: if you see a solution for someone else on their turn, and they accept your suggestion (and it works!), you get 1VP, too! The first player to 16VP wins!

The pieces all looked great -- it must take hours to make this game! Game play is difficult to get into at first, because most people just aren't used to bouncing off things at these angles, and also because a real ball wouldn't bounce this way (without putting a spin on it, anyway). But it starts to get easier with time. Don't play it with the spatially challenged (or the AP prone), however, unless you're willing to sit there staring at the board for a while! Good for folks who like Ricochet Robot but aren't fast enough to be competitive.

6/10
 
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71. Board Game: Disorder [Average Rating:5.17 Overall Rank:9823]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Just looking for something light now. There was a group playing Times Up!, which looked like a lot of fun. Those crazy guys added a 4th round, "strike a pose", where you pose your clue (teammate closes eyes, then opens when you're ready). It was all very funny to watch while we were waiting for Mary to finish her last (I think) Dice Tower interview.

We finally started playing the game, after a long drawn out process of going through the rules (thanks Dan!). It's not that difficult a game, but I guess we were all a little less than coherent. You have cards with letters (and a few special cards). On your turn you add a card to the board, adjacent to the cards already there; you may play a card flipped over as a wild. You're trying to AVOID finishing a word. If you can finish a real word after the person to your right plays, you may challenge them. If you're correct, you win -- they get the points indicated on the letters. If you cannot, but they were bluffing and cannot spell a word using the letters on the table AND other letters, they get the points. Keep playing till someone gets to 50points; the player with the fewest points wins.

Don't play this game with word wizards! Dan and Lisbet were much better at coming up with words than Mike, Mary or I were! Mary finally gave up, spelling Snoopy (an illegal word) to end the game! Other problems with the game: the cards don't have the letters in the corners, but only in the middle of the card, so it's hard to see what's in your hand. Also, the board is superfluous. This might be better with more alert players, I suppose ... but it will likely be a while before we play again.

5/10
 
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72. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:413]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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It was getting very late and people were very tired. This ended up being our last 2 games here. I was the first one out in game 1, and the second in game 2. It's not quite as much fun when you're knocked out early! Still, a good game.

I was actually feeling more awake than the others, and wandered around looking for a game. A quick game, anyway. Got close to playing Flaschenteufel, but one of the 3 needed to learn the game; by the time we'd gotten through the rules, Mary had finished chatting and we wandered around saying our goodbyes. I almost stayed to play the Tichu game Sterling was trying to organize, but there wasn't a fourth person anyway. Good thing, too, I guess: we spent quite a while packing up our games, breaking down inserts, compressing wherever possible ... didn't actually get to sleep until some time around 2!
 
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73. Board Game: Zombies!!! 4: The End... [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2095] [Average Rating:6.26 Unranked]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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April 9 ... The Day After!

We were up early, around 8:15 or so, to meet some folks at 9am for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Of course, hardly anyone who said they'd be there actually were! They eventually straggled in, and we had a nice long, relaxing breakfast. Then, back to the room to finish packing and get ready for the shuttle!

It's over, and I'm tired! But just like last year this was a lot of fun -- looking forward to next year's big 20th-year bash!

Thanks, again, to Alan and all!
 
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